Madison Chock and Evan Bates plan to skate their best performance ever when they compete in ice dancing at the Winter Olympics in Sochi Russia, but say it's hard to go for gold.
"It's difficult. Everyone says 'Oh, go for gold!' and you're like, 'Oh, thanks,'" said Bates. "Of course we're going to do our best, but ice dance is a unique sport, you know, it's a bit difficult for an outsider to understand kind of the dynamics that go into it, and where we expect to place."
"We're not going to think about it," said Chock.
Chock, 21, and Bates, 24, are referring to competing in the same Olympic Games as silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White, the U.S. team favored to win gold in ice dancing.
Davis and White train at the Arctic Edge of Canton alongside Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, gold medalists from the 2010 winter games and also highly favored to be on the podium in Sochi. But Chock and Bates do not see this Olympics as their last. They duo trains at the Skating Club of Novi under Igor Shpilband.
Shpilband has helped coach 11 ice dance teams competing in the Winter Olympics including Chock and Bates.
Chock and Bates won silver at the U.S. Figure Skating National Championships in Boston last month. This is the second year they have come in second at the national competition behind Meryl Davis and Charlie White.
"We're going to use this experience in Sochi to really set ourselves up for the next four years because we want to be on top of the podium in Seoul," Bates said.
The 2018 Winter Olympics will be held in Pyeongchang and Seoul in the Republic of Korea.
Chock and Bates joined forces in July 2011 and are committed to being the future of ice dancing in the United States.
"The commitment level is similar to a marriage, our fates are tied together, we care about this sport, we do it cause we love to do it," said Bates.
For Bates, competing in Sochi will be his second time at the Olympics. He competed in 2010 with a different partner.
Bates is from Ann Arbor and recently graduated from the University of Michigan.
"We're pushing ourselves harder, that just means more run-throughs, more hours spent training, and even off the ice, being smarter about recovery," Bates said.
Neither of them sees themselves making sacrifices for their sport.
"I wouldn't say that we're giving anything up, we're just putting more into our lives as skaters," said Chock. "We're completely committed to being at the rink training and putting our heart into everything we do this year."
Chock is originally from Redondo Beach, Calif., but moved to metro Detroit to continue ice dancing.
Chock, who lives in Novi, also designs the teams costumes.
She is interested in going into fashion design after her skating career.
To learn more about Chock and Bates, check out their website chock-bates.ice-dance.com.
Chock and Bates are among seven metro Detroiters competing in figure skating for Team USA in Sochi.
Two other ice teams include Meryl Davis and Charlie White and Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani.
Jeremy Abbott, who trains at the Detroit Skating Club in Bloomfield Hills, is competing in men's figure skating.